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Serge Kakudji: the Congolese that demythifies opera in Africa

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Serge Kakudji is a 26-year-old Congolese specialist of opera (tenor) who aims at Africanizing this musical genre kept for the West for a long time. He is on leaves in Kinshasa where he seizing the opportunity to organize training workshops towards the enthusiasts of this music considered elitist in Africa. Serge Kakudji announced the first edition of the “Africa Opéra” festival taking place from 26th to 31st December 2014, where African and Western opera singers will be on stage.

Serge Kakudji did not grow up in a western culture. He lived his childhood in Lubumbashi (DR of Congo). Fascinated by music, he met the famous choreographer, Faustin Linyekula who offered him the chance to develop his talents. Linyekula made discover in 2007 the festival of Avignon to his young fellow countryman. 7 years later, Serge Kakudji came back to the same stage but with his own creations this time.

He presented the play “Coup fatal“, a mixture of a baroque style and African rhythms. The idea of this creation came from Africa. “At that time, when I returned to Congo, I presented some baroque concerts, the public looked at me from an eye: it is beautiful, but what is it?” he declared in a specialized magazine.

The new objective of the Congolese is to demythify the opera. In order to achieve his goal, he organized training workshops in his country of origin to give the basic notions on this music to the enthusiasts. For Kakudji, Africa can make Opera concerts with the cultural heritage it has.

In Africa Opera, we call everybody, regardless instruments (drums…). In the second audition, it will be a western opera and in the third audition, it will be a Congolese-African opera. We are going to write our text and sing with our own voices. Because there might be some people thinking that when it is about the opera, it will be voices higher enough, no. We have beautiful voices (…) All voices are welcome“, he specified.

 

Original text by: Roger ADZAFO

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